Monday September 18, 2017

Science Funding Tops $3M

The National Science Foundation has awarded eight grants totaling more than $2.3 million to University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences faculty during the last 12 months - supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics research for the common good. Combined with two previous, active grants, the College’s current NSF funding total exceeds $3 million.

“This represents a tremendous accomplishment for the College’s STEM faculty,” said Jennifer Speed, College director for external funding and strategic resource development. “It shows they can compete on the national stage, do groundbreaking research, and that their expertise is valued, respected and in demand by federal funding agencies.”

With an annual budget of $7.5 billion, the National Science Foundation is the funding source for about 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. Applicants must indicate how their research will serve the American public, in keeping with the agency’s goals to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce, and expand the nation’s scientific literacy.

Faculty who won highly competitive NSF awards from Sept. 1, 2016, to Sept. 1, 2017, are:

“All of this work combined contributes to improving scientific breakthroughs and advancing scientific literacy,” helping to advance the University of Dayton’s strategic vision to be the University for the Common Good, Speed said.

College faculty with active awards from other federal agencies including NASA and the National Institutes of Health account for more than $1.3 million in additional research funding.

More than half of the new NSF awards fund research collaborations with faculty from other institutions including Stanford University, University of Pittsburgh, Mississippi State University, Colgate University and University of Florida, among others. These research partners account for an additional $1.7 million in NSF funding for the projects, with those awards going to their respective institutions.

“Our faculty have strong, productive partnerships with faculty around the nation and this is a key to success,” Speed said.

For example, the total award for McEwan’s arctic forest research is $1.6 million, including his $183,957 grant and funding to his four collaborators. The project will train about 16 undergraduate students, three graduate students and two postdoctoral scholars, and also provide support for four female scientists, two of whom are early-career.

“Research funding from the National Science Foundation substantially advances our ability to educate UD undergraduate students because it provides transformational opportunities for them to engage in science on the cutting edge,” McEwan said.

University graduate student Eric Borth ’17 spent part of the summer doing research in a remote region of Siberia. Funding from McEwan’s lab through the NSF Office of Polar Programs will support a second research trip there for Borth next year.

“This is an incredibly rare opportunity that highlights the professional development possibilities we can provide students when we engage in answering deep scientific questions,” McEwan said.

Speed said the College’s recent NSF funding success can also be attributed to the expanding capacity of both new and longtime faculty, increased support during the application process and a greater University emphasis on the value of sponsored research. The College is the only academic unit within the University that has a full-time staff person — Speed — who supports extramural funding.

“I try to act as an advocate, run interference and get people the information they need to prepare a competitive application,” she said.

Faculty interested in applying for grants, fellowships and sponsored research are invited to visit the College grant proposal process website.

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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